Pre-Parent Checklist

hello lovely parentberries! im so excited to be posting within the walls of your beautiful castle, and I come humbly seeking your wisdom and advice.

I have recently decided to set the goal of having a baby (or be in the process of conceiving) by the time I turn 30, which will be in 2029. at the moment, it’s quite a vague goal, and I want to set some concrete steps that I can reach on my way to being ready to have a baby. so I would love to know what goals you had or have set before becoming a parent!

im especially interested to hear from single parents by choice! while im not set on being a smbc, im prepared to be one, since I haven’t had much dating success and I don’t want a partner to make or break my goal.


eta, because ive repeated myself a few times now. I completely understand if marriage is on your personal checklist, and if that’s the case, do include it! I want to hear everything! but please don’t use it to influence its inclusion on my list.

I have my entire life to find a spouse. im bound by time to have biological children.

currently, im working on a master’s degree, working part-time, and living at home, which already presents 3 steps on my way to being a mom:

  • finish my degree (sub-goal: feel in control of my student loans)
  • transition to working full-time (sub-goal: be working towards publishing a novel, at the least, since this is my dream career)
  • move out of my parent’s house (and move out of state, because I don’t feel safe raising my family in my current state)

now I turn it over to you, and what goals you had/have set (or that you wish you had set) before becoming a parent.

thank you!


I did not set any sensible goals before becoming a parent! This suggestion comes from the perspective of what I wish I had done to prepare before I became a mother! It would be great to build up a support network. Parenting is very challenging, and there will be times when it can be an huge help to take a break, vent, seek advice and solace, bounce ideas around with others, and have reliable help to change your routines as you adjust to unexpected events, the temperament and needs of your child and your changing needs in various stages of parenthood. This support could be in person (friends, relatives, groups, partners) online, available through the community you live in or within reasonably accessible distance of your location.


It will be so interesting to see how everyone’s goals differ! Here’s mine:

  • Be settled into a loving, respectful marriage
    (where we have our own space to live)

I guess that is the only absolute must for me! Ideally, I also want to enjoy time working as a nurse before becoming a mama.


thank you so much! this is an excellent goal. currently, my plan is to move out after my friend finishes her master’s degree so we can live together. (she’s working in a different state, for a university that does tuition exchange, and she has an apartment through her job, so it’s not possible for me to move in with her and it’s not possible for her to quit her job, which she hates, until she’s done with her degree.) ive actually been talking a lot with her about my plans to have a baby, and she’s super excited to be an auntie!

tbh she’s one of the reasons I know id be able to manage if I end up becoming a parent alone.


It’s funny, I was just making my own checklist earlier this week! O have a lot of things I want to do, but I also want to start trying to. conceive in about two years, so I’ve got no time to waste!

[name_f]My[/name_f] checklist:

  1. Get into an exercise routine to build my strength and stamina :muscle:
  2. Get a good handle on my finances and have enough to spare for daycare or a nanny after maternity leave :money_with_wings:
  3. Learn to deal with stress in more productive ways and become a better role model for my kids :white_heart:
  4. Travel abroad with my fiance :airplane:
  5. Play a dungeons & dragons campaign with my fiance :troll:
  6. Have a little wedding ceremony :bride_with_veil:

how exciting for it to be so soon for you!!

this is a big concern for me as well, especially if I go the single parent route. I actually currently work in a half-day Montessori preschool, and ive been dreaming about being in a situation where I could send my kiddos to one like it—of course, that would mean im working/writing in the morning and then hanging with my littles in the afternoon!

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These were/are my goals:

-be in a stable & loving marriage.(This could also be changed to: make sure you have loving, continuous support from people you trust if marriage isnt in your plans)

  • be either working towards a stable career with substantial income or have a stable career (Personally I dont think there’s anything wrong with having kids in college so long as you know there will be a job at the end of the education that will provide for your family)
    -have a safe place to raise my children
    -be in a good and healthy both mentally & physically

having loving, stable support is super important. marriage isn’t in my plans per se—id actually love to be in a relationship at some point but im certainly not gonna force one for the sake of having a child, and I don’t want to feel my biological clock ticking while im looking for someone. as well as… well, ive been dating off-and-on for 3+ years and have nothing but social anxiety to show for it :smiling_face_with_tear:

why I know I need to move out of my current state :purple_heart: it’s becoming unsafe for myself as a queer woman, let alone my future family

thank you!


this is such a neat idea!!

mine would be:

– be in a healthy marriage
– earn my degree
– establish my career + income
– own a home in a family-friendly area
– have established some savings

my goals before having children :rainbow:

→ a loving marriage where my partner agrees with my views on faith, politics, and the like

→ a stable job, with supportive income from my husband for me to be a SAHM (what my mom did)

→ a living space that isn’t my parents’ or his

→ finished with my schooling

→ in a good place financially and physically for a child


thanks for the replies so far! always interesting to see what others have in mind for their future pre-parent checklist.

im wondering what (if any) financial checklists people wanted to achieve before having a baby? my initial thought was that id like to have saved at least the average cost of a baby’s first year by the time they’re born (after buying all the baby essentials like car seat, nursery items, and the like). but am I way off?

Oh, this is a good one! I may have to steal that for my own list. I know that right now I am not mature enough to handle a lot of the stressors that come with parenting.

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Your goal-setting and thoughtfulness is so amazing! It’s beautiful how dedicated you are to being a parent :slight_smile:

I can’t recommend an amount, but building up your savings is a smart step. Biggest cost would be childcare (though I hope it’s better by 2029.) And if you’re a smbc doing IVF that could be expensive too depending on insurance. (Other baby items I wouldn’t worry about; you really don’t need much, friends/fam love gifting for new babies, and you can score great things second-hand. Join your local Buy Nothing, check out Kid to Kid, scope fb marketplace)

When applying for jobs, I’d consider parental leave policies. (The Mama Attorney on Instagram is a good resource on that).

My advice would be to let your checklist guide you, but don’t let it restrict you. Don’t get too hung up on the details. We had our first with three major boxes unchecked (not married, not homeowners, not even out of our studio apartment) but it was all workable and silly as it sounds, I feel like things happened how they were meant to be.

Also one of my besties is a recent smbc (and in her 40s. You have so much time!) She is happier now than I’ve ever seen her, absolutely crushing mom life, and she and her daughter are an adorable family. All to say this is totally a goal that you can achieve with or without a partner!

PS: 100% feel the “don’t feel safe raising my family in my current state” :disappointed::broken_heart:


I don’t know if it is the same in the US, but where I live, staff in childcare settings receive discounted childcare costs for their own children. I hear you that you want to be writing for a living by the time you have a child, but an idea might be that you choose a daycare that you like and offer them some sort of service that would mean you qualify as staff and you’re eligible for reduced fees. You’ve got a wealth of things to offer! Some ideas for once a week sessions: a speech and language group (language based games for kids needing extra input in their language development), [name_u]French[/name_u] :star_struck: , sensory play for kids with ASD/sensory seekers and avoiders.

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I became a parent at a time when I wasn’t planning on having children at all, ever, so I didn’t have a pre-parent checklist. But looking back, this is what I’d had the chance to do before becoming a parent.

  • Work out what I wanted career-wise. Not to say that you need to have it all figured out by the time you become a parent and that you can’t change anything afterwards, but struggling with those questions as well as having to focus on raising a child was just too much for me.
  • Make sure my partner and I had talked extensively about parenting choices. We knew each other pretty well, but as parents we weren’t always a match. We found common ground in the end, but at first neither of us had any idea what we were doing because we’d never thought about what was important for our parenting style, what values were crucial for us to pass on etc.
  • Figure out who would / could be part of my support network
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Lots of good ideas mentioned here already.
Before our first and during the time were were trying to convince i spend LOADS of time looking into various products such as carseats and strollers and baby clothes. So much time in fact that the dazzle and advertising tricks sort of worked its way out of my system so when it was time to purchase i had a really good feel already about what was available and had done the research over several years (like10 years)rather than 9months. I even looked into different formula just incase so i would know what i would pick if breastfeeding didn’t work out. I knew what products would likely suit our lifestyle and parenting approach and i think this helped us save money by not falling for all the “must haves”.

Furthermore I learnt about labour approaches and the birth process and common pregnancy testing and the different appointments and how to breastfeed ahead of time. I thought the more i learnt now the less i had to cram in when I am actually pregnant.

Personally i had really bad baby fever and it was hard to wait for the right time to try conceiving and then really hard to wait for pregnancy to happen when we were trying so all this obsessing and research felt like a practical way to prepare and cope with the wait and a way to make the wait time a positive gift and a benefit.

Felt like I was doing at least something to work towards this dream of motherhood. Looking back though i think i felt really confident and prepared because of this research. I would add on top that looking into parenting styles and reflecting upon your own up bringing would be useful like for example i was spanked as a child and decided i didn’t want to do that too, but what do you do instead? How do you plan to deal with discipline, what would be your rules, expectations, routines, goals, what is important to you. I know this might all change when faced with an actual child but i found having read a few different approaches prior meant I had a few different ideas of things to try when what i thought I would MOST DEFINITELY do didn’t work at all😂

i have adapted a sort of hodge podge of different ideas from a few places: gentle parenting, rie parenting, super nanny, dr spock, attachment parenting ect. Some of it sounded really good in theory but just didn’t work, but it was helpful to do all that reading before a baby was even on the scene. Example: cloth nappies! I was super keen and i tried really hard and …they just never worked for us. I thought we would buy the best carseat to rear face until baby was three because it was safer and then we got a child who screamed every car ride until 6months when we gave it a go forward facing and baby could look around and was happy.


I love this! I spent a lot of time listening to birth/postpartum podcasts in the years before I got pregnant (18 weeks with my first now!) which really helped normalize it for me. There is actually a pretty recent episode of the Birth Hour that has a smbc so check that out. I also really dove into pre-conception nutrition and made some lifestyle changes based on that, “Real Food for Pregnancy” the book and the Balanced Beyers on Instagram are good places to start.

I also constantly am checking in on my “things that are aggravating me list” which is more general to life. For example, my non functional phone and falling apart car are on there. They are smaller things that I can save up for and “check off”. We recently purchased a new, bigger bed so that got check off my list last week. It’s been a nice way for me to take stock of what could make life better/easier and give me a plan for getting there.

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I once got a dog when I was single because I had a great roommate who worked opposite of my work schedule. It was a great support network… until it wasn’t and she moved out. Then, regretfully, she had to be in a crate while I was at work. Not the life I planned for her.

A husband is a huge help and I felt much like you once. I was 32 before meeting my husband. Why did it take so long?? Was I even going to be able to have children? Nothing is more important than having both mom and dad present to raise a child. Probably not a popular idea these days, but I believe in free speech for all <3

It was worth the wait. Children are so much more of a handful, compared to a dog! If you want to know more, feel free to pm me (or whatever is called on nameberry!)

Also… as much as you plan, things change and you will figure it out as you go :slight_smile:


first, thank you so much for your kind words :smiling_face: ive wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember and it’s amazing to think of it as a real possibility in the near future!

I also hope childcare will be more affordable by 2029 (also hope that moving to a more liberal area will help that). I do expect to have a lot of support from family, as much as they’re able, and my babies will have several aunties who I know will love buying clothes for them (and who have similar beliefs about gender to me, which is important).

realistically, I know I have a lot of time, but I guess 24 is the magic number, and now it feels like every adult has to inform me that they had their first kid at 24 (read between the lines: when are you gonna get on that?) :sweat_smile:

it’s the same in the US, as far as I know! selfishly, I hope that this isn’t necessary tho, just because I had horrible experiences with teachers’ kids growing up in daycare :cry:

@Rosebeth i really wish that parenting questions were considered normal for dating apps :sweat_smile: or first dates

@lolalollylegs i feel like I could get sucked in for days at a time looking at things like strollers, car seats, beds, etc! I already know that I want to travel with my kids as much as possible so ive been saving anything I see on Instagram about traveling with kids, from plane seats that turn into beds to adorable suitcases that kids can ride on through the airport. but this is an excellent idea for times when im feeling the baby fever and I need something to channel it into!

first of all, a big congrats on your pregnancy!!

I love this, and honestly this feels like a list my petty ass would make haha! (not that you’re petty, just that I am.)

im glad that waiting to meet your husband worked out for you :slight_smile: dating has been and always will be a bit more complicated for me than it is for most people because I land sliding on the aro/ace spectrum, and im not sure how far in either direction I can physically go. it’s not as simple as waiting for the right person.

im not too bothered by this. especially since there’s a likely chance that if my children have 2 parents, they’ll have 2 moms.


Not to worry! Since I am quite petty :slight_smile: Wishing you lots of luck on your journey!!

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